Tonight’s dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese’s is a mad medley of color and cacophony. We enter with a child and get our wrists stamped with a snail tattoo. We order our pizzas and drinks while the little girl goes to explore the rides with her mother.
I sit as far as possible from the scintillating lights, the creak of the undulating yellow car, the groan of a merry- go- round ,the screech of mechanical animals ,the jingle jangle 3-D video games which remind me of the slot machines, in Las Vegas.
Bug eyed children, rush from game to game where they catch apples in a basket ,crawl through a tunnel, slide, ride, jiggle joy sticks, to go through virtual reality worlds peopled with ogres, demons and dragons while their bedraggled and disoriented parents follow.
We share the Play Doughy pizza ,soggy French fries and a mixed fruit punch which tastes of plastic. Now it is time to redeem her fifty six coupons, for which she gets a small dark blue plastic dinosaur and a red balloon.
I think of the last time I had been to a Chuck-E-Cheese’s, almost twenty years ago with our son and his friend ,both nine years old. Back then the bedlam didn’t seem so bad. I tell the parents they should bring their ear muffs the next time they take her there.
asleep, as clouds scud across
a gibbous moon
(c) Copyright 2016 Angelee Deodhar
Dr. Angelee Deodhar, an eye surgeon by profession as well as a haiku poet, translator, and artist, lives and works in Chandigarh, India.Her haiku, haibun and haiga have been published internationally in various books and journals, and her work can be viewed online too. To promote haiku in India, she has translated six books of haiku from English to Hindi. She has edited both Journeys and Journeys 2015, an Anthology of International Haibun, just released on Amazon, which has a total of 145 haibun by 31 poets of international repute.